Childhood’s End


This is a tough one to talk about without saying too much. It’s a bit creepy and a bit sad, but it’s also very short, so there’s the upside.


There was once a girl who lived her whole life behind windows with no glass in them. She was born behind them, dragged screaming and squalling onto the kitchen floor. She spent her early years playing on the same floor, driving tiny wooden cars round and round, or rearranging the furniture.

Her mother was absent much of the time. She would often leave the house early, returning late at night to absently tuck her daughter into a badly made bed. Not that the girl minded overmuch. She spent her teens in bed with every man who entered the house and found pleasure with them all.

Her clothes were simple but well made and her hair never needed much tending. She had simple pleasures and simple desires and both were met.

When she reached her twenties, the house went dark. It happened overnight and she woke in pitch black. Nothing else had changed, though, so she got up and went about her daily life. Then the spiders moved in. They weren’t huge, not like she’d been warned about, but they took over the lounge with their countless, sticky webs, and she found herself more and more confined to the top floor.

The visitors dried up as well, though she wasn’t sure whether to blame the spiders or the dark. Finally, she had her mother all to herself, and the next fifteen years passed in a flash as they got to know one another properly. There, in the dark and silence, she found a different, deeper, sort of happiness.

Then the light returned. The spiders were banished with cries of alarm and mother was once more out at all times of the day. The girl went back to her old life, though she could barely remember it.

One day, mother didn’t return.

The girl spent two long, sleepless days and nights waiting, until the one thing she’d never imagined and never prepared for, happened. She was taken from her home, torn from her safe place behind the empty windows, and thrust into the world. And she discovered, now, what her mother had spent so long hiding from her.

The biting was the worst. One minute she would be lying on the carpet, the next she’d be grabbed and shoved into a greedy mouth. It was the sacrifice only a mother could make and in those first few, terrible, days, the girl knew only one thing.

She would remain childless forever.

Years passed, years of abuse and torture, years of fear and no sleep. It was during this time she learnt what it meant to be an adult. What it meant to have responsibilities and not be free to live the life of your dreams.

She was sixty seven when she died. She had enjoyed another spell in the dark, alone this time, except for the spiders. These ones were larger, but friendly as well, and she passed the years learning their language and the magic of walking on webs without sticking to them.

When she emerged this time, she was frail and old. Her clothes were held together with memories and her hair was eager to leave. But the play was no less rough. Her leg went first, severed and lost beneath the bed. Luckily for her, the head went next, and the girl from behind the glassless windows died on the nursery floor.



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